Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware such as CrySIS, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for many years and continue to inflict damage. The latest variants of ransomware such as Ryuk and Hermes, as well as additional as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt online files but also infect most available system backup. Information synchronized to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed system, this can render automated restoration impossible and basically knocks the entire system back to square one.

Restoring services and information following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the targeted organization tries its best to stop the spread and remove the virus and to restore business-critical activity. Because crypto-ransomware needs time to replicate, penetrations are usually launched during weekends and nights, when successful attacks may take more time to notice. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and orchestrating an experienced mitigation team.

Progent provides a variety of help services for protecting enterprises from ransomware events. These include team education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to installation of the latest generation security solutions with machine learning technology to rapidly identify and quarantine new cyber attacks. Progent in addition offers the services of seasoned ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and commitment to rebuild a breached system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Soon after a ransomware penetration, paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber criminals will return the keys to decipher any of your data. Kaspersky ascertained that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the usual crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the key elements of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of complete information backups, this calls for a wide complement of skills, professional team management, and the ability to work continuously until the recovery project is completed.

For decades, Progent has provided certified expert Information Technology services for businesses in Santa Monica and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes consultants who have earned top certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with accounting and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to rapidly identify necessary systems and re-organize the surviving components of your computer network environment after a ransomware penetration and rebuild them into a functioning network.

Progent's recovery team uses powerful project management applications to coordinate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of working quickly and together with a customerís management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to get critical systems back on-line as fast as humanly possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery
A client contacted Progent after their network was penetrated by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been created by Northern Korean state cybercriminals, suspected of adopting techniques leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific organizations with limited ability to sustain operational disruption and is among the most profitable instances of ransomware. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing business based in Chicago and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk attack had frozen all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data protection had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (more than $200,000) and hoping for good luck, but ultimately utilized Progent.


"I canít tell you enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most critical period of (our) companyís existence. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. The fact that you could get our messaging and critical servers back on-line sooner than seven days was amazing. Each person I worked with or communicated with at Progent was totally committed on getting us back online and was working all day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly identify and assign priority to the critical services that had to be restored in order to resume company operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To get going, Progent adhered to ransomware penetration response best practices by stopping lateral movement and performing virus removal steps. Progent then began the steps of restoring Active Directory, the heart of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server messaging will not function without AD, and the businessesí MRP applications utilized Microsoft SQL, which requires Windows AD for access to the data.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery of critical systems. All Exchange schema and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find local OST files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff PCs and laptops to recover email data. A not too old off-line backup of the client's accounting systems made them able to restore these essential services back on-line. Although major work still had to be done to recover totally from the Ryuk event, core systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the production operation ran fairly normal throughout and we did not miss any customer sales."

Over the next few weeks critical milestones in the restoration project were made through close cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than four million archived emails was restored to operations and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory functions were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was installed.
  • Nearly all of the desktop computers were operational.

"A huge amount of what happened that first week is nearly entirely a blur for me, but my team will not soon forget the commitment all of your team accomplished to help get our business back. I have trusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This event was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A possible business catastrophe was dodged with results-oriented experts, a broad range of IT skills, and close collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware attack detailed here should have been identified and disabled with modern cyber security solutions and best practices, staff training, and well thought out security procedures for data protection and proper patching controls, the reality remains that state-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, removal, and data recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others who were involved), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it through the initial fire. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if anyone that helped is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

To review or download a PDF version of this customer story, please click:
Progent's Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Santa Monica a portfolio of online monitoring and security evaluation services to help you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern artificial intelligence technology to detect zero-day strains of ransomware that can escape detection by traditional signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily escape legacy signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight ASM safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to automate the complete threat progression including filtering, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge tools packaged within a single agent accessible from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to plan and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's unique needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry data security regulations. Progent will assist you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alarms that require urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of vital files, apps and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged as a result of component failures, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver world-class expertise to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when needed, can assist you to recover your business-critical data. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering and email encryption service that uses the technology of leading data security vendors to deliver centralized control and comprehensive protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local gateway appliance to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-borne threats. The Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and keeps most unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to external attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a deeper layer of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local security gateway offers AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises security gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more details, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, monitor, optimize and troubleshoot their networking appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are always updated, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when potential issues are detected. By automating complex management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that need critical updates, or resolving performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the state of vital assets that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is transmitted immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so any potential issues can be resolved before they can impact productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's network support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the operating system platforms, and the applications. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting environment without a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied a single hosting provider. Learn more details about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that allows you to create, update, find and protect data related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate up to half of time spent looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common location for storing and collaborating on all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether youíre making enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the information you need when you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Santa Monica 24-7 CryptoLocker Remediation Help, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.